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Aqua Follies

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The 1950s. Postwar exuberance. Conformity. Rock and roll.


Russell tells himself he’ll marry Susie because it’s the right thing to do. His summer job coaching her water ballet team will give him plenty of opportunity to give her a ring. But on the team’s trip to the annual Aqua Follies, the joyful glide of a trumpet player’s solo hits Russell like a torpedo, blow
ebook, 220 pages
Published June 15th 2017 by Liv Rancourt
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  80 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
More story-based blog review -
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This book makes me feel old. I'm a child of the 1950s and I don't want to think I fit into some historical period, but it's been sixty two years since the 1955 Sea Follies in Seattle, the backdrop of this particular story. I think I'll stick with the term retro, that sounds way better. But you know what's funny? And I think this every now and then when someone posts something about 'those damn hipsters' like they're new, or the worst thing in the world, which the
☙ percy ❧
this was a sweet and realistic romance with interesting characters, but it didn't quite click for me. i suspect this is to do with the setting, as i've never really been particularly interested in 1950s america (i mean, i've never even seen grease! i know, i know). i think a lot of people will love this though and it was just a personal thing for me, so if you like the sound of the synopsis you should probably go for it!
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: june-2017-dr
When I think about historicals I usually think anything before the 1920's. It's hard to believe that the 1950's are considered historicals, but alas it is.

This is a story about Russell and Skip. Russell has graduated law school and is helping out his aunt by assisting coach her Aqua Dancing group. He travels with her one summer and it's there he meets Skip. Skip is an out and proud gay man. Which, in the 50's is dangerous. He plays the horn in the evening and is such a well-loved character.

It is probably more than 3 stars rating, but for me it didn't quite reach the level of 3,5 stars to round up to 4 stars.

3,3 stars

Even if I don't rate it very high, I think that Aqua Follies will meet the expectations of the majority MM romance readers. It is a typical romance novel, with a MUST BE HEA, likable characters, with the right dose of drama and- what I really appreciate-just the right amount of sex scenes. (Many MM romance writers tend to exaggerations here.) The historical setting is
Lisa The Novel Approach
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I have to admit I had no idea what I was getting into with Liv Rancourt’s Aqua Follies. Esther Williams and her “aquamusical” films? Sure, I know about those. And who hasn’t caught a little synchronized swimming during the Summer Olympics? But I was clueless that Seattle, Washington’s Green Lake was the site of “swimusical” performances in the 1950s, which is the setting of this lovely and emotionally evocative novel.

While the Aqua Follies certainly provides a unique backdrop for this story—some
Jeannie Zelos
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Aqua Follies,  Liv Rancourt

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved this story, a great read, bringing in a very real feel of life in the fifties. 
I was born at the very tale end of the fifties, but from my parents conversations about what they'd done this tale felt perfectly suited to the era.
Even in the sixties there was an emphasis on going out for entertainment. TV was limited, we didn't have one like many families until i was maybe 9 or 10, and even then it was
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie
The summer after graduating from Law School, Russell travels across the country with his aunt and her Aqua performers as an assistant coach. On a stop in Seattle, he meets Skip, a horn player that he's attracted to. But Russell has his plan already set. Deeply closeted, he has a girlfriend, Susie, one of the Aqua performers, that he plans to ask to marry him. They'll settle down and live happily ever after. But the world just might have other plans for him.

This was a slow burn. Skip and Russell
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the ARC.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly.
It is set in Seattle in 1955 and Liv Rancourt has captured the feel of the 50's perfectly.It just exudes the atmosphere of that period without being heavily historical.
The main characters Skip (Lawrence) and Russell are well-rounded.Skip works daytime for Boeing and nights playing horn while Russell is filling in time after graduating from law school helping run his Aunt's troupe of Aqua Dears.Skip is openly gay whe
Kaje Harper
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is a wonderful feeling of time and place in this story - 1950's and the era of live bands and swimming spectaculars, and homophobia. Russell is working a summer job as an assistant coach for his aunt's water-ballet show, for the travel and because his girlfriend Susie is in the show. Susie is cute and fun, just wild enough to be exciting to hang out with, but still a good girl - the girl Russell plans to marry soon and spend his life with. In fact he has a ring in his pocket.

Susie is his b
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars

I heard good things about this book so I thought I would give it a shot. I'm glad I did. The author gives us an authentic but loving homage to the 50's while still being true to some the difficulties queer people faced in that era. The characters felt honest and real for the time, and even though Russell didn't deserve the many chances that Skip gave him to own up to his sexuality, I can't imagine how difficult it would have been to do that in a time when being gay made you an outcast. So
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
A very touching 1950's gay love story.

I'm not sure how to describe how I felt about Aqua Follies except to say that I loved it. It's the first book I've read by Liv Rancourt but it won't be the last. Aqua Follies is set in 1955. As the book blurb says it was a time of postwar exuberance, conformity, rock and roll, and - homophobia.

Russell is in Seattle as an assistant coach with his aunt's group, the Aqua Dears, a synchronized swim team performing in the Aqua Follies at the 1955 Seattle Seafair.
Chris, the Dalek King
Russell is sure about how his life is gonna turn out. Or, at least how it should. He should find a law firm to work for. He should ask his girlfriend to marry him. He should get a house, raise a family, and live a life about as normal as Leave it to Beaver. Only problem is that he is not so sure that he wants all or any of that. And the one thing he is sure about–his desire to kiss the mesmerizing trumpet player–is the one thing that would make that fairy-tale life go up in smoke. Skip is too mu ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This book had alot going for it namely the characters which rang true considering it took place in 1955. I liked Skip very much, Russell was likeable yet that came and went considering he was trying to fight his homosexuality. Surrounding cast interesting yet not fleshed out much. They seemed to be in the book a lot yet we knew little of many of them.
The gripes I do have however come from being a Pacific Northwest native. In Seattle you don't "smell the ocean, " it's Puget Sound. Now is that par
Sadie Forsythe
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a2r-done
This is a hard on for me to rate. The book is really well written, easily readable and well edited. It has two likable characters and a realistic plot and setting. However, I didn't enjoy it personally, and that's not the fault of the book. It's just that, while I understand that 1950s America was a horrible time and place to be gay and there were very real reasons to be afraid of being outed, I got really tired of Russell's back and forwards. I understood it, but I had a hard time liking him ea ...more
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved the setting of 1950s Seattle. The historical setting was different and while homophobia was real for the time, I'm sure there were many happy long-term relationships.

When Russel's girlfriend dumps him while they are on tour with the Aqua Follies, he indulges in his secret desire for men. His struggle felt real without being too angsty or drawn out. His love interest, Skip, a musician, was a great guy, who feels something real with Russell but worries his love isn't returned.

My only small
Ellen Gregory
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There’s so much to love about Aqua Follies. The mid-1950s is not your usual setting for a male/male romance novel, but Liv Rancourt brings that era to life brilliantly well. There are party phone lines, jazz lounges, and pomaded pompadours. There are blazers and ties for the men, curled hair and red lipstick for the women. There’s the behaviour ‘accepted for a young lady’ and the girls struggling to break free of the shackles. And of course there’s the awful social and legal persecution of men s ...more
Debbie Christiana
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Aqua Follies is a historical male/male romance set against an uniquely fun and interesting backdrop -The 1950's Seattle Seafair, a celebration that included the Aqua Follies and their swimusicals.

First, I have to say that Ms. Rancourt went above and beyond in her research, from the Seafair itself, to the musicians, swimmers, the secretive and dangerous life of those who love someone of the same sex, down to what a stay in a sanitorium was like back then. This may not seem important to some, but
Elisa Rolle
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Aqua Follies Liv Rancourt
1) Liv Rancourt's dedication to a true historical narrative is so evident here. Her characters are so authentic. The 1950s must have been a difficult time to be gay, yet she doesn't go for the easy angst. These guys want something more. They know there is an easy way out, but they're willing to risk the fallacy of a normal life to reach for something better. That positive note was sorely needed against what could have been, and I wa
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author's note at the conclusion of this book laments that books set in the 1950s are hard to place, so, publishers, I hereby lodge my vote for more books set in the 1950s! The setting and atmosphere were charming and thoroughly realized. I loved the elaborate details of the Aqua Follies routine and the liberal use of 50s slang - "what's the word from the bird"? Russell's closeted shame and Skip's frank acceptance is the midcentury collision of tradition and social progressiveness in miniatur ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I really enjoyed this! I admit I was a little leery about this because I don't care for the 50s much, too much judgement and conformity for me, but I love other books by Liv so I figured it was worth trying. I'm very happy I did! She managed to balance the reality of the time while still making their story believable. Skip's love of life and belief that he not only can have, but deserves, happiness and love drew me in as much as it did Russell. I admit I wanted to shake Russell more than once, b ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this historical about the US of the '50es. It has a realistic feeling*: even though I don't know much about that time, I do know about the police harassment of homosexuals back then. The author does a good job in depicting Russell's denial of his homosexuality, and then his worries that everybody would notice it, and Skip's confidence twinned with the persuasion that because of his sexual orientation and of that given society he will never find love.

* Except (view spoiler)
Lola Karns
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
I owe this book a longer review, but it is so good. From the mid century setting to the characters, this was a joy from start to finish.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m, historical, romance
Sep 27, 2017 added it
Shelves: historical, queer, romance
This was so much sweeter than I expected it to be. I'd put off reading it for a while because I wasn't sure I was up for the heartbreak promised by the premise. But Liv delivered. <3
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review to come
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I bought this book because it was on sale. I started reading because it was the first thing to pop up on my reading queue. I wasn't really interested in reading it last night because I wasn't in the mood for silly. My instant thought toward a synchronized swimming tour group was that it was going to be fluff. There was nothing silly about this book. It captured the time period beautifully. Granted, I wasn't alive in the 50's but my uncle always tells stories about his "wild and woolly days," so ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don’t usually enjoy historical gay romance because of the need for secrecy, the legal peril, the lack of recognition, and the disapproval. This book, however, is a beautiful love story with a positive ending.
Typos: Kindle page 45 is attention should be his, p. 71 enough reach should probably be enough to reach.
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2017
Pam Faste aka Peejakers
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Jul 18, 2017
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add Rainbow award winner, 'Aqua Follies' 2 13 Dec 20, 2017 08:39AM  
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon. I write funny. I don’t write angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog is the cutest thing evah(!), and we’re up to three ferrets.

I can be found on-line at all hours of th
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